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Undefeated Pride dominate Modesto City Classic tournament
Pitman boys basketball
This year’s tight-knit Pitman varsity basketball team, which only has nine players, is continuing to impress after winning the Modesto City Classic tournament this past weekend. The Pride also walk away from the tournament with their undefeated season record still intact at 6-0.

The Pitman High boys varsity basketball team kept the good times rolling last week as they cruised to a Modesto City Classic tournament championship victory, beating the likes of Kimball (Tracy), McNair (Stockton), Johansen (Modesto) and Beyer (Modesto) in the process. The tournament victories push the Pride’s record to an undefeated 6-0 in the young 2022-23 season.

“Coming into the tournament, I was just thinking to take it one game at a time. I knew there were three different styles we were going to have to deal with each day… any preconceived ideas that we knew we were going to do as well as we did, I’m just not as good as a coach to have that kind of mindset,” joked head coach Harvey Marable. “But I’m really proud of them.”

Marable explained that the title win was a pleasant surprise for many reason, especially after a nail-biting 63-60 win in their opening game against Kimball.

“Kimball is a lot bigger, which definitely drew concern for me. They played physical too,” said Marable.

But once the Pride got past the tough Jaguars team, it was smooth sailing from there on out. In the next three tournament games, there were double-digit final margins of victory.

In the quarterfinal matchup against McNair, the Pride dominated with a 67-32 win. That performance was quickly bested in the semifinals against Johansen, as they blew out the Vikings by a score of 54-12. And in the championship game against Beyer, the Pride earned a 68-54 victory.

“I’m proud of them for the effort that they put in for those things to happen,” Marable said. “It definitely helps for their mindset that for the hard work they’re putting in, there are some rewards. We have some nice pieces to this puzzle, and the pieces are fitting in very well, so we just need to keep things fine-tuned. If we can keep things fine-tuned, I like all our opportunities in every game we participate in.”

Pitman guard Avery Sanchez also took home some individual hardware by tournament’s end as he was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 20.5 points, 4.25 rebounds and, 2.25 assists per game.

“He definitely had a really good tournament,” Marable said. “As a sophomore, he is growing as a player. I was impressed that he was calling out some plays and some setups and concepts that we should work on, so I’m looking forward to him continuing to develop his leadership.”

And while Marable had much praise for Sanchez, he also gave plenty of credit to other players such as forward Justin Anderson, guard Seth Vink and standout freshman Cole Martin. Anderson averaged 15.8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Vink averaged 10 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Meanwhile, Martin played a valuable complimentary role, averaging 7.5 points, 3 rebounds and 2.75 assists.

“The tournament performance was part of our puzzle fitting together, because without Justin and without Seth and without Cole, some of the things Avery did wouldn’t have been possible without those guys. They each made some great contributions.”

With the Pride now experiencing an entirely new level of confidence heading into the remainder of the season, Marable also wants to remind his young team to remain focused and not let their feet off of the gas pedal.

“It’s nice to have confidence, but we can’t let the ego get involved,” Marable said. “We’ve had some leads and lost it, and then we came back. They’ve picked up a lot of information on how to get things done and how to stick with it. You know, we’re dealing with teenagers and sometimes, they can hold onto something too long, so we just need to be careful with that.”

The Pride will look to continue their winning ways at yet another tournament, the Mark Madsen Invitational at San Ramon Valley High School. The tournament tips off Thursday night, with Pitman slated to face the Wildcats of Franklin High in their opening game.